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Pedestrian bridge in Bayside is coming down

The 216th Street pedestrian bridge in Bayside will be torn down with no replacement lined up, DOT officials announced at Monday’s CB 11 meeting.
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Representatives from the Queens DOT commissioner’s office announced at Community Board 11’s meeting Monday night that the 216th Street pedestrian bridge in Bayside will be dismantled with no plans for a replacement. The decision comes after the concrete foundations underneath the two sides supporting the structure was found to be in decline in 2006.

The rickety structure of twisting, rusted steel and cracked concrete connects the north and south ends of Bayside, cut in half by the LIRR’s Port Washington Line.

Transportation Planner from DOT Richard Gippetti said plans for a new, ADA-accessible overpass were shot down by the community board on the basis that the winding ramp for wheelchair-bound users did not fit the aesthetic desired. DOT said the bridge’s deterioration has reached the level where it must be demolished as a public safety measure which cannot be avoided with repairs.

Gipetti told the crowd assembled in the MS 158 auditorium that because the handicap-accessible bridge was not approved by the community, no bridge at all will be permitted to take its place.

The pedestrian bridge is expected to be closed as early as the end of November, Giapetti said.

“The plan right now is to ultimately take down the bridge,” Gipetti said. “We did work with the Department of Design and Construction on an option and that option was not approved, so there is no plan to replace the pedestrian bridge. It’s something we can look to in the future, but right now our interest is in safety.”

Susan Seinfeld, district mManager for CB 11, said the ADA-compliant plans were presented by the Department of Design and Construction at a public hearing in 2008, but following an “outpouring of opposition” from the public they were rejected by the community board.

Residents are urged to cross the railroad tracks at either Bell Boulevard or 221st Street for safety reasons.

“Because the bridge will only be rebuilt as an ADA-compliant bridge, the design our engineers had determined had multiple switchbacks, so it was no longer just a single staircase scaling the bridge,” Gipetti said, explaining how ADA-compliant ramps requires a certain grade for people in hand-powered wheelchairs to ascend.

Community members reacted with confusion at the knowledge the bridge would be scrapped without being replaced and questioned the DOT officials about where residents, especially children headed for school would be expected to cross.

Gipetti said the city agency is now working with the Long Island Rail Road to determine an exact time frame for removing the steel and concrete structure that does not conflict with commuter schedules.

The 216th Street bridge will be following the pedestrian overpass at the Little Neck station of the LIRR’s Port Washington line to the scrap yard. It was taken down in mid-September and is pending replacement.

MTA police have been on high alert for illegal crossings at dangerous points along the tracks, an LIRR spokesman said in October.

Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhallum@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4564.

Posted 12:00 am, November 11, 2016
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Reader feedback

Ed from Bayside says:
"Gipetti told the crowd assembled in the MS 158 auditorium that because the handicap-accessible bridge was not approved by the community"

Complete BS.

There may not be enough space for a switchback design going north/south on both sides of the bridge, but there is definitely space to do it east/west on both sides of the bridge.

This bridge needs to be replaced if it is to be taken down.
Nov. 11, 2016, 9:50 am
Chicklet from Bayside says:
Clearly nobody from the MTA/LIRR lives in bayside (or walks anywhere)!

Sure, thousands of Baysiders said "go ahead, demolish the bridge" because we want to walk an extra mile or two! We said "oh the handicap bridge is ugly, we'd rather walk".

They ram everything else down our throats, if they had plans to demolish this bridge 8 years ago, and had planned a replacement, they could have the new bridge built and ready for service right now. What a bunch of liars!
Nov. 11, 2016, 12:24 pm
Russo from Bayside says:
Please we need this bridge. Please
Nov. 11, 2016, 12:28 pm
Pedro Valdez Rivera Jr. says:
By the end of the day, safety is always the number one priority for all MTA employees and commuters.
Nov. 11, 2016, 3:54 pm
Joe Smith from Bayside NY says:
There's got to be more than one way to build a bridge. How come the community was only offer one option? Also, removing the bridge does the same disservice to the handicapped as well as the non-handicapped. No one can cross. That is the worst option.
Nov. 11, 2016, 9:49 pm
Joe from Bayside says:
4 blocks from Bell and 4 blocks back from bell that is a considerable distance. 221 St. is even further at 5 blocks.

If the Dot, LIRR & MTA had properly maintained this bridge it would not have to be torn down.
Nov. 12, 2016, 12:49 pm
John T from Bayside says:
If they maintained the bridge in the first place, instead of letting it deteriorate they wouldn't have to take it down.
Nov. 16, 2016, 7:08 pm
Kathie from Reno NV says:
That bridge was used by kids on the Northern Blvd side to get to Sacred Heart School. When you lived 2/10 shy of a mile you weren't eligible for the school bus. If your family car was being used to get dad to work, that meant your little third grade legs had to walk to school -- almost a mile each way -- obviously no going home for lunch. Goodbye railroad trestle. Thanks for the memories.
Nov. 19, 2016, 2:11 pm
Rob from Bayside says:
These overpasses the LIRR built throughout the system were for another time,
not enough foot traffic uses them anymore and the reality is the maintenance never was and still isn't there.
Jan. 22, 2017, 9:22 pm
Rob from Bayside says:
These overpasses the LIRR built throughout the system were for another time,
not enough foot traffic uses them anymore and the reality is the maintenance never was and still isn't there.
Jan. 22, 2017, 9:22 pm
Nicolosi from Bayside says:
This is a disgrace and a huge inconvience for all the residence on the northside and the southside wanting to get to schools and parks and also the libraries, police station, businesses and animal hospital located on the other side.
There is no parking on Bell boulevard or in the vicinity anywhere near Northern Boulevard especially not near the library or the police station down for making it impossible or ridiculous for anyone to drive there when you can easily walk across the bridge and get there quicker without aggravation or parking tickets and wasting time to finding parking spot much further away then your house is.
This is the necessity and a major problem that needs to be resolved and not dumped on the local Residents to deal with and serving the interests of other persons, parties or entitues is far more important and a priority and that's just not acceptable and no one should tolerate this. not exactly its in the best intersts of some other interest is more important and priority over what the intersts of people and our quality of life.
This needs to be challenged and is unacceptable that a resolution or interim plans were not in place or deemed not necessary or important!
Everyone needs equal walkable access to all the amenities & facilities in our town and the trestle is the bridge that provides that and cannot be taken away or made less accesssubile or made to be more inconvienet and difficult to enjoy. It's a quality of life issue, it's unfair and impacts property values as it significantly impacts the desirability and "location location location" factor.
A current and impartial engineer inspection and report is needed at the very least and must include repair ability options versus replacement and including cost comparisons and alternative options solutions offered in interim. If it hasn't fallen down in the last 10 years, since the last engineer inspected report it's not going anywhere, anytime soon and the urgency to close is completely absurd and simply not just not believable! Enough is enough don't you think
Jan. 24, 2017, 5:07 pm

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